The Easiest A/B Test With the Biggest Returns

Friction is a somewhat ambiguous term that usually refers to sticking points that lead to hesitation, confusion or mistrust amongst consumers while using a website or app.

Friction can cause low conversion rates, low engagement and ultimately lead to people deciding not to use your product or service.

One of the most common friction points is users’ first impression with your website. If they can’t figure out exactly what you do and how you can help them in a second or two, you’re almost guaranteed to lose them.

Over the last 7 years I experimented with several ways to improve first impressions, but none easier than this 👇

Just test your homepage headline #

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” — David Ogilvy

The headline is almost always the most read element of a website and, unfortunately, is often a marketing afterthought. It’s typically created during a copywriting sprint when a website is launched and never touched again.

Your headline is the first impression and helps visitors decide if you potentially have a solution to their need.

A strong headline is focused, specific uses statistics when available, and is the perfect lead into what they are going to read on the remainder of the page.

Cute, branded copy rarely works. Let’s take a look at 3 examples from market leaders which all nail their headline.


All three speak directly to the problem they are solving, and are supported with a strong, complimentary secondary headline.

Running A/B tests on headlines is a simple test to set up with Optimizely or Google Optimize (or whatever tool you prefer) and can cause big improvements in on-site engagement, bounce rate and ultimately conversions.

Here’s the process #

It’s nearly impossible to hit this out of the park on your first try, so start by writing down 20 headline and 20 secondary headline ideas.

Think of what problem your product or service solves, who it solves it for and tangible ways that problem is measured.

1. Think of customer narratives:

What are they thinking before they stumble on your site?

What issue did they just run into?

What made them say “man, I wish there was a way to do X think” or “sheesh, my life would be a lot easier if I had Z.”

2. Pick the best 3 for each headline.

Can’t pick three? Get some anecdotal feedback from friends, family, co-workers, or better yet, potential customers.

Keep a backlog of the headlines that didn’t make the cut.

3. Run the test, analyze the results and pick the winner.

If you’re still not convinced that you found the best option, you can continue to run tests.

No matter which route you go, I am almost certain you can pick up a few conversion points from this test.


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I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to build a successful marketing strategy in today’s ever-changing, ultra-competitive digital world. Every person and company is competing relentlessly for consumer attention. Attention... Continue →